This is a fascinating presentation given by Dr. William (Willy) Donaldson. Willy has over 35 years of experience, and is the Founder and President of Strategic Venture Planning, a management consulting firm that assists boards, investors, families, and senior management teams to maximize results.

We need to talk, indeed! This presentation could have been entitled, “Engineers are from Mars, the C-Suite is from Venus.” Unfortunately, there will be no meeting in the middle; Since the C-Suite holds the keys to the purse and the keys to organizational change, those of us who count ourselves in the engineering side of the house had better learn to speak Venusian in order to head off what Willy calls “the organization’s immune response” to change. Venusians, it turns out, already regard “engineering” with suspicion, so any conversation starts with us at a disadvantage. How do we overcome that?

When was the last time you heard a technical presentation that emphasized empathy? Willy is one of the world’s foremost experts on organizational change and, of course, understands completely (and reminds us) that organizational change is about people, not technology. Don’t miss his analysis of the Chinese character for “listening,” showing how it comprises symbols for ears, eyes, the heart, the one, and (last and, in fact, least) the mind, with its preconceptions and rote responses all queued up.

Ultimately, Willy helps us understand why the C-Suite is (or at least appears to be) “stubbornly resistant to systemic change,” and what we can do about it. If we wish to institutionalize PLE and Digital Engineering anywhere, let alone everywhere, we need to understand these lessons.

Listen to the whole presentation. It’s well worth the learning!